There was a brief period last year between moving house and changing jobs when I was commuting to work on the Metro trains. For those 6 weeks, I read more than I have ever done before. The Metro journey was only 20 minutes each way, but those 20 minutes belonged to me and my reading. I just gobbled up books during that period – it was fantastic.
Then I started a new job in a town just over 20 miles away and so I was commuting by car. The extra reading time was lost, or so I thought.
A couple of months ago, I became absolutely sick and tired of listening to the same songs played on the radio over and over again, and so I decided to try something a bit different – I borrowed an audio book from the library.
It took a little bit of getting used to at first. I started off with Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan, which I found a little hard to follow for the first few tracks on the CD as I got used to being read a story rather than reading it myself. But once I had settled in, I really enjoyed listening to the story and now I am a total addict.
It is very rare that I will have more than one book on the go at the same time, and I was a bit concerned about getting confused between the audio book and paper book. I need not have worried though as the audio book is very much in the car, so when I shut the car door I can leave it behind, then pick it right up again when I get back in.
The one drawback of listening to audio books is that I can’t read back over what has just happened when I get back in the car. I’m not sure if I can rewind CDs or not, so if it has been a couple of days since I have driven, I am dropped back in the middle of where I left off, and can’t always remember exactly what happened immediately before, but it has been quite easy so far to pick up the thread again. I do think that listening to the story adds an extra dimension to it as well – the reader is important as they do help bring the characters to life and help in creating the impression of the characters.
I always had the impression that audio books were just for old ladies. I thought that I would find a library full of Catherine Cooksons and Agatha Christies and nothing much else. I was really pleasantly surprised by the huge array of books on offer, modern and old, in all genres and for all age groups.
So through audio books, I have taken back the commute as my time for reading, and once more I am reading more than I ever have before.